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Greenwood, Mississippi Unveils A Large Emmett Till Monument

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The majority Black city of Greenwood, Mississippi, unveiled a monument dedicated to the 14-year-old Black boy whose tragic story helped galvanize the civil rights movement.

According to The Grio, the nine-foot statue of Emmett Till was unveiled Friday, not far from where he was brutally killed by two white monsters after another white monster accused him of flirting with her. The only downside is that the monument commemorating the young victim of heinous white violence, stands just miles away from a giant ode to Black people in bondage—or what white conservatives call “heritage.”

From the Grio:

The 9-foot (2.7-meter) tall bronze statue in Greenwood is a jaunty depiction of the living Till in slacks, a dress shirt and a tie with one hand on the brim of a hat.

The Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., the last living witness to the kidnapping of his cousin Till from a family home, said he won’t be able to travel from Illinois to attend Friday’s dedication ceremony. But he told The Associated Press on Wednesday: “We just thank God someone is keeping his name out there.”

The Till statue at Greenwood’s Rail Spike Park is a short drive from an elaborate Confederate monument outside the Leflore County Courthouse and about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the crumbling remains of the store, Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market in the hamlet of Money.

Both Greenwood and Leflore County are reportedly more than 70% Black. So, the Till monument makes sense and is long overdue. But the big white supremacist eyesore that is the confederate monument in Leflore County is basically just a reminder to Black folks that America likes to commemorate the days when they were the property of white people.

Still, Parker said he’s happy Emmett Till is being celebrated because, for decades, even talking about his case was seen as somewhat of a taboo.

“Now there’s interest in it, and that’s a godsend,” Parker said. “You know what his mother said: ‘I hope he didn’t die in vain.’”

Speaking of Emmet’s Till’s mother, the Grio also reported that the Chicago suburb of Summit will be getting a life-sized statue commemorating Mamie Till-Mobley. The statue, which is scheduled to be erected next April, will be placed outside Argo Community High School, where Mamie was an honor student.